Hygieia in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology

(*(Ugi/eia), also called Hygea or Hygia, the goddess of health, and a daughter of Asclepius. (Paus. 1.23.5, 31.5.) In one of the Orphic hymns (66. 7) she is called the wife of Asclepius; and Proclus (ad Plat. Tim.) makes her a daughter of Eros and Peitho. She was usually worshipped in the same temples with her father, as at Argos, where the two divinities had a celebrated sanctuary (Paus. 2.23.4, 3.22.9), at Athens (1.23.5, 31.5), at Corinth (2.4.6), at Gortys (8.28.1), at Sicyon (2.11.6), at Oropus (1.34.2). At Rome there was a statue of her in the temple of Concordia (Plin. Nat. 34.19). In works of art, of which a considerable number has come down to our time, she was represented as a virgin dressed in a long robe, with the expression of mildness and kindness, and either alone or grouped with her father and sisters, and either sitting or standing, and leaning on her father. Her ordinary attribute is a serpent, which she is feeding from a cup. Although she is originally the goddess of physical health, she is sometimes conceived as the giver or protectress of mental health, that is, she appears as mens sana, or ὑλίεα φρενῶν (Aeschyl. Eum. 522), and was thus identified with Athena, surnamed Hygieia. (Paus. 1.23.5; comp. Lucian, pro Laps. 5; Hirt. Mythol. Bilderb. i. p. 84.) - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.

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